couples counseling

Quieting the Noise

One term that I use all of the time in the couple’s therapy room is about the “noise” we get stuck in during communication.  And when I say “noise”, I don’t mean this dismissively, I mean it from a place of understanding.  Because I get caught in the “noise” in my relationship too. 

So what do I mean when I say “noise”?  Well, it’s the stuff flying around in your relationship that has NO relevance to what you really need to be talking about and yet it continually come up and distracts you from having the real conversation.  It’s the stuff that becomes so circular that you end up confused how you got there but you’re fired up and can’t seem to let it go. It’s the unproductive stuck places that don’t create repair or resolution.

Priorities Reveal Themselves

A reoccurring theme in my office and life in general is this running against the clock, fast paced, we have no time to do what we know we need to be doing pace.

And no one is immune to it. We all struggle with juggling our time and sadly the things that we say are the most important can often get placed much too low on the priority list.  And sometimes we can feel lost or stuck on how to reverse the order.

I work with couples every day that find themselves months and years down the road of not connecting, not spending intentional time together and not prioritizing their partnership. And they’re not bad people. They’re couples that were trying their best doing all the wrong things when it comes to nurturing their love relationship.

Earning the Right to be Heard

So before you read any further, I need to prepare you that this blog post may make your blood boil.  Because honestly the first time I heard the statement I’m writing this post about, my blood boiled. But stick with me for a second.

Now we all know that we live in a day and age that is full of distractions.  Most conversations resemble merging onto the freeway in the middle of rush hour. You know where you’re paying so much attention to try and dart into traffic that you are aware of little else.  It’s quite horrible that we’ve lost our ability to slow down and actually converse.

Trying Doesn't Guarantee Success

I hate making mistakes.  I know that’s an odd way to start a blog post, but it’s the truth.  I don’t like making mistakes and I really don’t like letting others down.

But as a wife, mom and business owner I’ve learned that I do let people down.  It’s not intentional. I’m not trying to disappoint or drop the ball.  And yet it still causes hurt.  

I’m (still) working to accept that I’ll continue to let others down, especially those that matter the most.  Because at the end of the day, I’m only human.  And being human means that I can only do so much, be so much and try so much.

My Biggest Pet Peeve

I love learning about people’s pet peeves. I know that sounds odd, but I feel like learning about people’s pet peeves is super interesting but also helps me feel like I know them better. So depending on how well we know each other, there is a chance that I’ve asked you this question.

And to be fair, I’ll share one of mine with you.

I CAN NOT stand it when someone doesn’t try because they don’t believe that a little bit can make a huge difference.

I don’t know how I developed this pet peeve, but I have some ideas.  

Don't Make It Worse!

I love my kids to bits, but some days they are lunatics (remember I say this with love).  We’re deep in the parenting phase of “helping” them to become productive members of society.  Seriously this is what it feels like! 

One thing that seems to be rearing it’s ugly head is this phase of “not starting the issue, but equally contributing to making it worse”.  Any of you out there with kids older than mine, please don’t message me and tell me this phase never goes away (only kidding). 

Acceptance Is Harder Than We Think

Do you remember the trend a number of years ago that was focused on “tolerance”?  I don’t know about you, but that campaign always drove me a bit crazy because honestly, the word “tolerance” kind of drives me a bit crazy.  It feels like one of those words that is cloaked with disdain when you say it.

I guess my biggest issue with the word, “tolerance” is that it feels like a half assed way to accept someone.  We know that in love, our greatest need is to be unconditionally accepted by our mate.  Yes this can be a lot harder to do than you realize. Often times you end up “tolerating” aspects of your partner rather than accepting all of who they are…unconditionally.

Working Towards Understanding

Over the years of being a couple’s therapist, I’ve come to realize that I’ve chosen a very interesting line of work.  I feel blessed to have a job that I truly enjoy and humbled to have folks trust me enough to let me into the most intimate space of their life…their relationship.

One pattern that I see come up over and over again in the counseling room is this idea of agreement.  It’s amazing to me how stuck folks can get trying to find a place of agreement.  Simply put, love isn’t one of the places that we should be seeking agreement.

Fighting For Each Other or Fighting Each Other?

We’re in our intimate relationship for a reason.  Hopefully reasons.  And despite all the amazing reasons.…sometimes we need to take a step back to be sure we’re really fighting for each other and not accidentally fighting each other.

I believe in love, both personally and professionally, and sincerely believe that there are SO many reasons we should fight to make our relationships work.  (Side note: I also think that there are some reasons not to fight to make relationships work…but I digress).

What Motivates You In Love?

I was listening to sports radio during my drive in the other day and the discussion was on maintaining motivation.  I am truly fascinated by sports (some would say fanatical) because the idea of someone dedicating their whole lives to perfecting a talent is amazing to me.  It takes a special kind of person to sacrifice the way athletes do. Yes, there are big pay offs, but there are also tremendous sacrifices made along the way.  And in order to justify the sacrifices, you not only need dedication to your craft, but you also need an ability to stay intensely motivated.

 Or you’ll simply fall flat.

I Need You To See Me

My toddlers are quickly becoming kids and will be starting Kindergarten this Fall. It’s truly hard for me to believe that they’ve grown so quickly and to realize the little people that they’re becoming in the world.

Their independence is fierce and their desire to figure things out on their own is becoming more and more hardwired.  I often find myself sitting on the sidelines, waiting for them to ask for help versus jumping in and doing like I did in those early years.

Peak to Peak Principle

Picture yourself standing on one peak and being able to easily see the other peak in the distance. Now begin making your way from one peak to the other.  As you dip into the valley, you begin to lose sight of the peak you’re heading towards.  As you descend, the fog thickens, the trees become taller and denser. You try your best, but despite all you’re looking up, you can hardly see the peak you’re walking to any longer.  You begin to feel defeated and slow your pace, wondering if you’re even going the right direction.  You begin to doubt yourself and even wander off course.  Eventually you decide to just sit and wait for the rescue party, because it’s not worth trying on your own.  You’ve completely lost perspective of where you needed to be headed.

 

If Something Is No Longer Serving You In Love......Why Do You Keep Doing It?

Love is a crazy thing. I’ve been doing this work for over a decade and I’m still fascinated, intrigued and inspired by it.  At times love can feel so simple and clear while the next it feels confusing and scary.  Love pushes us to be honest, to be vulnerable, to be intimate, to forgive and to self-reflect.  And friends, that’s not always the easiest thing.

 

One of the more intriguing things in love is this habit you get into of continuing a pattern or behavior, long after it’s served it’s purpose.  Couples share with me all the time in my Sacramento therapy office about so desperately wanting things to be different, to change, to grow, but are so unsure or defeated of how to get it to change.

How To Rock Couples Therapy

So in an effort to help, I’ve put together a list on the best ways to rock couple’s therapy and make some real change happen in love.

If you’re thinking about couple’s therapy in Sacramento and are ready to make some real changes in your relationship, here are some tools to use to get the most out of it.

1.    Be Up For The Challenge- some couples come in really skeptical and reluctant.  And I get that, it’s really overwhelming to reach out for support and allow a stranger (aka therapist) into your relationship.  Coming into therapy with an open mind and willingness to dig in and do the work is going to make it a really successful experience.

The Biggest Secret To Success in Love

Because when I learned this one, it absolutely changed the way that I looked at, experienced and showed up in love. 

It’s the power of being a great apologizer and a great forgiver.  Now by no means am I saying this is something I excel at in every given moment in my relationship. But it created an incredible shift for me once I realized how valuable these two traits were.

At Least I Can Say That I've Tried

The thing that grips me with “Hello” is the intensity of not just her words, but the pain you can feel in her voice.  The longing.  The regret.

 

At least I can say that I’ve tried….to tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart.

 

Because loss and regret are like that.  It leaves us so wanting.  It makes us want to at least say we tried.  Even if trying means we can’t erase the pain.

 

I know Adele’s song speaks to so much loss, but I really feel that the emotion she shares can also help in healing the love we still share with someone.

Are You Grading On A Curve In Love?

Grading on a curve allows us to justify our negative behavior and actions because our mate isn’t showing up the way we expect them to.  Lowering our bar on our own choices impacts our relationship more than we may realize.  It starts a steady decline that we need to pull out of quickly.

Buckling Up In Love: Are You Practicing Good Seat Belt Safety?

I mean an unfastened seat belt does nothing for you.  And lord knows, racing to buckle up mid-crash doesn’t do anything to minimize the injury. 

 

So with that logic, I have to ask if you’re practicing seat belt safety in love? Are you putting on the seat belt mid-crash or did you secure your belt well before you started the journey?

Crafty A** B*tch

And friends, the same is true in our relationships.  Sometimes we can be standing too close.  We can be staring so closely at what’s not working we fail to have any perspective.  We can’t see our part in the disconnection and we really can’t see the best way to repair it. 

Life Would Be Better If... We Were All A Bit More Like Charlie Brown

I never asked her why she liked Charlie Brown so much, but knowing the woman that she was, I like to think it was because Charlie Brown never gives up hope, no matter if things didn’t go his way.  That pretty much describes my Gram. She lived by the motto, “make each day count” and it was reflected in how she loved, forgave and cared for others